Clothing for Runners

The best type of clothing for you will depend on what exercise

you are doing, what it is for (general fitness, specific event) and how

serious you are about continuing with it.

If you want to start jogging, but only in good weather to keep

yourself fit, and therefore may stop at any point, you will probably not

want to spend a lot of money purchasing all the latest high tech running


However, if you intend to train for a competition such as the marathon

or some other sport, and will therefore be training upwards of three times

a week, it is important that you do have the correct clothing to ensure

peak performance and safety.

For the beginner, you want to choose total sports apparel exercise clothing that is

comfortable but practical. The more up to date fabrics such as CoolMax

wick the moisture away from your body, so you do not become overheated,

cold or clammy. Cotton is fine, but remember that it hold moisture so will

become damp and heavy. It is best to choose lightweight cotton.

If you go to classes or the gym, it is up to you whether you want

to get kitted up in head to toe lycra, or just a t-shirt and shorts (headbands

from the 1980’s is a definite no-no). However, you will need to stay

cool and comfy. If you are using equipment, ensure your clothes are not

too baggy and get caught up. For a high impact aerobics class, you may

need something lighter than tracksuit bottoms. Lycra shorts are good as

they allow for plenty of body movement without restriction.

For specific sports, it will be best to choose sports apparel clothes that are

specially made for it. This will ensure peak performance for you.


This will depend on the weather. If it is mild or warm weather, then you

must dress to stay cool. It may be more comfortable to wear a vest instead

of a t-shirt.

Cotton t-shirts can have stitching that rubs on you, and as cotton absorbs

moisture, they can become wet and soggy. An alternative to cotton are the

new wicking fabrics. These are designed to draw sweat away from your body

and out to the surface where it can evaporate. These materials are more

expensive than cotton, but worth the investment if you are serious about

your running.

In cold winter weather, you will need to dress to stay warm while running.

The key to warmth and comfort is layering, as air gets trapped between


layers and acts as insulation. It is also easy to remove a layer as

you start to heat up.

The normal amount of layers is three:


  1. The base layer should be light wicking material to keep the sweat away from your body. It should fit snugly without being restrictive.
  2. The next layer should be a lightweight long sleeved top, preferably also made from wicking material. It should fit loosely over the base layer.
  3. If it is very cold or raining then the top layer should be a loose fitting, breathable, wind and water- proof jacket.
  • On your legs, you may want something more than shorts, so opt for lightweight trousers or leggings.
  • These come fleece lined for really cold weather, and waterproof for wet weather.
  • As most heat is lost from the head and hands, in very cold weather wear a hat and gloves.
  • It is best to choose fleece ones as they are warm but allow the skin to breathe and offer some protection from the wind.

Sports Clothing Essentials



You may think that socks are a very minor detail when running, but they

can make all the difference, especially if you are running a long distance.

Choose synthetic materials that keep moisture away from your feet. Good

socks will keep your feet warm, dry, supported and cushioned.

You can get blister socks that reduce friction, ones with extra padding

around the heel and ball and socks with a tight weave middle for extra

foot support.


The most comfortable shorts are made from Supplex nylon, and are shaped

to minimise rubbing. Alternatively choose shorts made from lycra or a wicking


Women should always invest in a good sports bra, as running is high impact


For Safety if you are running in the dark, ensure your clothes

have reflective strips on them and that they are made from bright colours,

as it is very important to be seen.

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